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‘The money, fame they’ve got…’: Sunil Gavaskar reacts to Rohit Sharma’s ‘jinko bhookh nahi hai’ comment

Sunil Gavaskar shared his thoughts on Rohit Sharma’s comments about the need for ‘hunger’ among young cricketers to play Test cricket.

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar reacted to India skipper Rohit Sharma’s comments about the need for ‘hunger’ to succeed at the Test level. After India beat England in the fourth Test by 5 wickets on the back of some outstanding performances by newcomers Dhruv Jurel, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Akash Deep, captain Rohit said the ones who will show that desire and hunger to play the longest format, will only be considered for selection in the near future. Neither the question nor the answer had any mention of any player but it was pretty evident what the topic of discussion was.

Sunil Gavaskar and Rohit Sharma

Two centrally contracted Indian cricketers Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer gave Ranji Trophy a miss despite strict orders from the team management and the BCCI. Hardik Pandya was also on the list but it is still unclear whether the NCA has cleared him to play the longest format after a big injury layoff.

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“Test cricket is the toughest format. And if you want success and want to excel in this tough format then you need that hunger. It is very important. We will give opportunity only to players who have that hunger. Jinko bhookh nahi hai, unko dekh ke hi pata chal jata hai (You come to know easily the players who don’t have that hunger, or players who don’t want to stay here and play this format. We come to know that,” Rohit said during the post-match press conference in Ranchi.

Gavaskar said Rohit was correct in his assessment. The legendary cricketer said the money, fame and recognition the cricketers get is all because of Indian cricket so they should be loyal to that.

‘Maybe they’ve decided never to play Test for India’: Gavaskar’s indirect take on Kishan, Iyer after Rohit’s ‘hunger’ remark

“He’s absolutely right. The ones who want to play Test cricket, you look at them. I’ve been saying this for years. The players are what they are because of Indian cricket. The stage of life and career they are at is all because of Indian cricket. The money, fame and recognition that they have got is because of Indian cricket. So you’ve got to show some loyalty towards Indian cricket.

“And if you don’t show that for whatever reasons and say ‘I won’t play this, won’t play that’… Rohit is absolutely right in saying the ones who have the hunger, the ones who are willing to put in the effort will be given more opportunities going ahead. If this is the attitude of the selectors then it will be good for Indian cricket. We’ve seen many players pick and choose, this shouldn’t happen,” Gavaskar said on Sports Tak.

Without naming either Kishan or Iyer, Gavaskar said the ones skipping Ranji Trophy may have decided never to play Test cricket for India.

“Maybe they have decided not to play Test cricket for India. They don’t have the ability, they don’t have the hunger like Rohit said. So which form of domestic cricket they didn’t play? The Ranji Trophy. It is the longer format with red balls. So you can’t do anything.”

Gavaskar wants better scheduling from BCCI

The former opening batter opener, however, feels there is an option that the board can look to attract more and more young cricketers to red-ball cricket. Gavaskar urged the BCCI to prepone the Ranji Trophy to make sure it doesn’t clash with Test cricket or the preparations for IPL. What this will also do is, give much-needed match practice to the ones serious about Test cricket as India’s bilaterals generally take place between December and March.

“I would request BCCI to start the Ranji season in October and finish it in December. Then you hold the white-ball tournaments like the Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali T20s. This will also give practice to the players playing in the IPL. From December to February India play Test matches either at home or abroad so if the Ranji Trophy is hosted before that then the young players will also be ready,” he added.

This, however, seems unlikely as India’s domestic season has been starting with the white-ball tournaments for a few years now. This was done to give a platform to the players and the franchise scouts before an IPL auction each year.


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